I get these questions all the time. Even after I know I've given answers before. I can't get mad at people's ignorance over what's going on in my head. But haven't you ever wanted to make a T-shirt answering that one question people keep hitting you with? I have several. There are the questions that strangers ask. "Nope, no kids... just dogs." And there are the questions friends ask. "Yes, I'm still on that weird diet." I love talking about my journey with friends and new friends but maybe I should provide a resume of my experience thus far so we can knock out the obvious questions and get to the real meat. Or if you're a stranger inquiring about the ages of my kids to see if we have anything in common, I can end the conversation quickly and head back to the food table.
So for your information, and maybe a good laugh, here are some T-shirts I need hanging in my closet...
1. "NO, I DON'T HAVE KIDS"
And if I feel like it, I'll hit you with the backside that reads, "WE'RE WORKING ON IT." This will be great to wear to baby showers and any other social gatherings where small talk will undoubtedly revolve around kids. If I'm really in a foul mood, I will flash my "I'M INFERTILE" camisole so you'll shut up.
2. "GREAT BUNS, BAD OVEN"
They should require diagnostic tees for all patients at the fertility clinic. That'd be hilarious. We're very open with our friends and family about our infertility, but I still get asked, "So do they know, like, what's wrong with you?" Some people never get real answers, I get that. And to some degree, isn't all infertility "unexplained?" But yes, we know our issues. I was born with a septate uterus, meaning there was a wall of useless tissue (septum) straight down the middle of the thing. On screen, the cavity was heart-shaped. Though typically not a deterrent to conception, uterine anomalies like this often make implantation or carrying to term a concern. We discovered this in early 2007 and I've since had three surgeries to correct it. I also had Stage III endometriosis discovered (and removed) during my initial surgery. And after multiple assisted attempts to get pregnant, we've discovered I have uterine lining issues as well. Our first IVF cycle also revealed that we apparently have some kind of fertilization issue, since the embryologist deemed it necessary to "force" fertilization of all my eggies (rather than letting the sperm and egg party on their own in a petri dish). Good news is, I am an excellent egg maker. I make a lot of beautiful, good quality eggs. And thankfully, we do not have any huge male factor infertility. For the most part, the hub's boys are excellent. We've got 20 gorgeous embryos waiting on ice. So we're just working on the baking part.
3. "YES, WE'VE TRIED THAT"
This would be a guaranteed bestseller among infertiles. God bless you all for wanting to fix us, but YES, we've tried that and NO, it didn't work. Next?
4. "I'M NOT READY TO ADOPT"
Bestseller #2. Because if Plan A fails, why not just jump ship for Plan B? I cannot think of some smart analogy here to mirror the grieving process a woman must go through to let go of the soul's longing to have a biological child. Yes, adoption is a wonderful thing. Perhaps there is no greater earthly love than that of an adoptive parent. And maybe it will be a part of our story - I am certainly open to that. But we are not there yet, dear friends, so please don't push me along. I know people throw out the "Why don't you just adopt?" question out of love. But it only crushes the spirit. Let your IF friends bring up the subject of adoption. Trust me, they know their options. And adoption is our obvious Plan B. The hub and I decided years ago that if we couldn't make a bun with my egg and his sperm and bake it in my oven, then we'll adopt. Donor eggs and/or sperm would do nothing to help our cause anyway, so that's not even a discussion. Surrogacy would be the only viable Plan B for having a biological child if we were dead-set on having one. I think surrogacy is a great thing - what an incredible gift. We've even had friends graciously offer up their fully functional ovens. But it's not for us. I want to be a mother, but I also have a huge desire to experience pregnancy. Always have. I honestly think I would have major issues with someone else carrying my baby. It's a great option for those who can handle it - I just know I'm not one of those.
5. "THE KIDS ARE ON ICE"
The less acclaimed film about a couple in their mid-30's on their journey to parenthood. OK, not really. I don't get this question a ton, but it has caught me off guard before . "So, what are you going to do with the rest of the embryos? Do you consider that a life?" Well holy shit, can I not just get pregnant first? Yes, we are very blessed to have 20 frozen embryos awaiting us. While a successful pregnancy did not result from our first IVF cycle, we got the next best thing: leftovers. Many women going through IVF come out with no good embryos to freeze. In fact, I just caught word of a twitter pal who only had one egg retrieved during her cycle and it was no good. She was of course devastated. Y'all, I had 40 eggs retrieved. Seriously, we are so grateful. Even my acupuncturist was like, "Wow, did you hyper-stimulate?" Nope, I just have kick-ass ovaries. And damn straight I'm bragging. Let me boast about the few functioning girly parts I have, please! But yes, that means we have a lot of embryos - most of which we probably (hopefully - though that sounds weird) won't need. We did have to sign papers making a decision as to what to do with said embryos if the hub and I were to fall off the face of the earth. Options: (1) Destroy them (can they not choose a nicer word?), (2) Donate them to science (for research, not for making babies), (3) Donate them to another couple. I'm sure you all would have your own opinions, but for now we chose #2. This is not our ultimate decision - again, this is what will become of them if the hub and I get hit by a train tomorrow. I don't know what our ultimate decision is. We may very well donate them to other couples once we've had our kids but I can't wrap my head around any of that right now, so don't make me. For now, the kids are chilling and that's all you need to know.
What T-shirts would you like to add to YOUR wardrobe?
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